Kathryn and I have been mutually following one another’s blogs for some time now and I’m super excited for her to share a bit of her story with you all.
Before the beginning of the guest post, here’s an introduction to her book:
Imagine that the very food you eat and the beautiful carpet on your floors start to make you feel violently ill. Your contact lenses cause your eyes to burn and water uncontrollably. Trace amounts of mold on other people’s clothing cause you to become unable to hold a thought or get it from your brain to your mouth during an everyday conversation.
The life you once knew is gone and you have become a prisoner of unexplainable and severe allergies and sensitivities. In this new life you can no longer shop or visit friends in their homes because there are too many chemicals and fragrances there. You become plagued by one mystery infection after another and no doctor or specialist seems to be able to give you any explanation of what’s causing your terrifying symptoms. Depression sets in and becomes your constant companion as you try to cope with the stress of being sick and of struggling to live within your new-found limitations.
“Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage and Hope” is the story of one woman’s journey through a battle to reclaim her life and overcome depression caused by an exposure to toxic mold in her workplace.
I would like to thank Katie for hosting my book, “Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope”, on her blog as part of it’s first ever book blog tour.
Allergic to Life is my story of a journey through a battle to reclaim my life and overcome depression caused by a workplace exposure to mold. I suffered infection after infection as we tried desperately to find the cause and treatment. Writing in my journal during the many nights when I was alone and couldn’t sleep, helped me.
It’s 3:41 in the morning and I can’t stop crying. I am hurting so much. It makes my chest hurt to cry but I can’t help it. I am trying to be strong but it is sooo hard. My heart is breaking! I am missing out on everything. I am feeling so angry and alone. I want Rick here to hold me. I am never going to be normal again. I want to disappear and forget the treatments. I would run away and disappear! I want to live, but not like this! I want the world to hear our stories. Not just mine. God grant me the strength to carry on!!
During those long and lonely nights I poured my heart out into my journal. I couldn’t burden my family and friends with all that I was going through when we were miles apart from each other. When I couldn’t sleep I wrote until the tears stopped flowing and I could finally fall asleep. During one of those late nights with my journal propped in my lap, I began writing about the loss of my identity. I am including an excerpt from the poem.
WHO AM I?
Who Am I?
Stripped of all the things
that were once me
No more contacts—I now
have the weight of my glasses on
a face that always hurts
Who Am I?
My hair is streaked with gray
where glorious color once was
My cheeks are pale where
once the glow of a soft
blush warmed them
Who Am I?
The mother I once was who could do things
for her daughters can now barely do
The wife and helpmate can
hardly help herself
Who Am I?
I am the one who hides behind the mask—
not revealing my from or smile
The one people look at with pity and
Who Am I?
I am still be but in a
The one who will come out of this cocoon—
spread her wings and fly
The one who will look different on the outside
but not on the inside
I am thankful that depression and anger are no longer my constant and daily companions. My life is still a struggle but I am learning to be okay with who I am and to find happiness within the boundaries of my new-found life.
In celebration of my life and the completion of Allergic to Life, I am offering a giveaway of three autographed books through rafflecopter at the end of the blog tour.
About the Author
Kathryn was a vibrant and active 44-year-old stay-at-home mother of two when she decided to venture back into the workplace. Though she had been out of the workforce for 18 years, Kathryn had always been very active in community events – PTA, school board and the local 4-H club – and was always the first to volunteer to help out friends or family.
Little did she realize that this opportunity for professional growth and financial independence would force her through a never ending series of battles with the medical and legal community, make her a prisoner in her own home, and mire her in severe depression. After workplace exposure to mold caused severe immune system dysfunction, Kathryn’s world turned upside down and nothing would ever be the same. She was forced to give up her most treasured possessions and was no longer able to be the active person she always had been. Relationships were tested and many did not survive. Defeat always seemed close at hand as illness thrust her into a battle not only for independence, but for her life.
Kathryn’s story of self-doubt, loss of identity, and the pain of skepticism – from the medical and legal profession – is a heart-wrenching journey of endurance, hope and hard-won triumph. Her experience with mold exposure gives her a unique perspective on the physical as and emotional effects of mold exposure. Read her story and learn how she was able to overcome these many obstacles to become an advocate for her own health.